Psychopathological correlates of anxiety sensitivity: Evidence from clinical interviews and self-report measures
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Most research on anxiety sensitivity (AS) and its relation to psychopathology has examined the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) in various clinical samples. The present study was the first to investigate psychopathological correlates of AS using self-report measures, the anxiety, somatoform, and substance use disorders sections of the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV (SCID), and open-ended interview questions about the subjective meaning and origins of AS. A college student sample (N=317) was used for the correlational analysis, and subsamples of high-AS (n=44) and low-AS (n=41) participants completed the interviews. Despite having an ASI score (Mean=35.0) that was equivalent to that observed in panic disorder samples, the screening questions in the clinical interview indicated that only 55% of high-AS participants had panic attacks and the diagnostic assessment indicated that only 30% met criteria for an anxiety disorder. Several findings suggested that AS, at least as measured by the ASI, was strongly related to anxiety disorder symptoms and diagnoses, although there was substantial variation within the anxiety disorder classifications. There was also evidence that AS might extend to a broader catastrophic style concerning bodily symptoms and health that go beyond anxiety symptoms per se. The subjective meaning of AS derived from the interview data stressed the need for a formal, structured interview of AS.
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